I can't say I was an optimist before Maddy died. However, despite my cynical and sarcastic streak, I was not a full-blown pessimist either. Cautious optimist? Realist? Hard to even remember. I will say at this point though, I tend to fall on the glass nearing empty side. Color me experienced, or jaded, or knowledgeable, but I do know now exactly how that glass can get drained in the blink of an eye.
For a few months after Maddy died, in addition to everything else grief threw at me, I experienced severe anxiety issues regarding my husband and daughter. I suppose it's not remotely unusual for someone in my position to fear losing the rest of my family, but I just wasn't quite ready for the graphic nature of these day-mares. I'd cling to my husband, not wanting him to get in the car for work in the morning, and then approach hyperventilation imagining him in a horrific accident. And the vision didn't stop there -- now that I know what the interior of an intensive care unit is like, I could easily envision him, with his eyes closed, hooked to this monitor and that ventilator and what drips would be going through the IV, and how his color might look . . . it was all a bit too real. The same was true for Bella. It wasn't simply fearing that she'd run into the street, it was the entire scenario from start (car hitting, sound, body flying, sound when body lands) to finish in the most minute of detail.
While the visions have let up considerably for Mr. ABF (stops typing to find wood to knock), they still occasionally abound for Bella. Most traumatic for me are household accidents of an obscenely freakish nature -- falling off her bed and breaking her neck, tipping back in her chair and smashing her skull, that sort of thing. Every other word out of my mouth is "Be Careful." And not in a paranoid mom kind of way, but in a desperate, can't-lose-my-one-last-ray-of-light kind of way. Last Saturday, Bella had raging pink eye. Sunday night, at 2 a.m., I was awakened by her screaming in fright "Mommy, I can't open my eye!" I cradled her head, put a warm washcloth to her swollen lid, and suddenly my heart stopped and my eyes flooded with tears. She was Maddy, Maddy was her. A struggling girl without the ability to open her eye, her mom gently dabbing her lid, willing them open. It was a flashback of the worst sort, and it took a fair amount of brain lecturing heart to convince the latter that Bella's white matter would not liquefy overnight. Needless to say, I spent the rest of the night curled up right next to her, not sleeping through my nightmares. I certainly was not there for her sake.
Meg got me thinking about the New Year, and the adage in the deadbabymomma-verse that "it certainly can't get any worse." But sadly, I know it can. I know now exactly what can happen when you least expect it. I know the universe can fuck you over no matter how careful you are, and despite everything you do to prepare yourself. I know that medical science is incredibly advanced, and yet royally lagging in certain aspects. I know what's it's like to sleep in a hospital chair. I know what it's like to watch a human die, in my arms. I know now that those we like to think we can count on for support in good times may very well not be able to handle the bad, and may abandon the duct-taped lifeboat for the Cruise Ship with nary a wave goodbye. I would like to think that I've reached the bottom of this particular cesspool, but recent events have proven that this isn't necessarily the case.
I don't wish anymore. I don't dream anymore. I've given up hoping for anything. I like to say I don't have a horizon, nothing to look at off at in the future. There's nothing I really want there anyway, and any such dreams would likely end in futility. I would like to think that '08 couldn't get any worse, but I'm certainly not putting any bets on that. It damn well could. Let's just use any scintilla of hope I have left and hope it doesn't and leave it at that.